Mascarade, Eric Emo — Enquête d’identité
Mascarade, Eric Emo
Past: May 13 → July 9, 2011
Having explored carnal matter in black and white, the French photographer concentrates on the idea of concealment from portraits shown on pornographic sites that he manipulates. Monochromatic ovals of white squares cover the faces while the bodies are truncated or colored. The overall fuzziness of the composition suggests that the eye which has just fixed itself on the image has not yet been able to focus.
This vision contrasts with the origin of the images, crude, exhibitionistic photographs, which exist in a frontal manner to satisfy desire. Images in which the protagonists conceal their faces to protect an element if intimacy and to highlight what they feel they have to be. Confronted with the disclosure intrinsic to pornographic photographs, Eric Emo has chosen to cover everything with a filter. In this way his photographs show a mental image of the world. « When we remember, we can only recall impressions, the details remain fuzzy, » explains Eric Emo. Like the impressionists and the surrealists, the artist does not show what is. He injects traces of his subconscious into the Real, going against the role photography has long been given.
« I do not judge the origin of the images. I decontextualize them in order to bring them into anew space, that of galleries and art. »
Eric Emo discovered photography very early, through drawing. Both practices have in common the spontanaeity of the act. Desiring to make photography his métier, he moved to Paris at twenty to begin his career in a photographic laboratory. Later assistant to Jacqueline Guillot for Connaissance des Arts, he focused on portraits of personalities from the art world. He quickly became a specialist in the human form and the object that he photographed for the museums of Paris.
The course of his career encouraged him to discover and enrich himself from the Works of the sculptors and painters of the 19th and 20th centuries.
« Even if I know the history of photography, it is painting which inspires me the most. It seems freer to me. I discover an image. It tells me a story which I then construct bit by bit until the end of the series which closes a long period of research. Mascarade, Investigation into Identitiy, my last series shown at the Taïss Gallery, was produced over two years. It refers as much to James Ensor’s masks as to the faceless characters of Giorgio De Chirico or the pictorial texture of the characters colored by Paul Klee. »
The fuzziness is characteristic of his personal work. Already, during the series ‘Corps Séquences (Body Sequences)’ shown in Paris in 2006 he focused on the carnal texture. Spectral images, living beings, or sculptures? Eric Emo does not tell you where to look. He questions the future of photography in this digital hour. This use of fuzziness goes against the desire for ever more precision and sharpness that comes with technological advance. The artist proposes something else. He values imperfection, doubt, intuition. When he adorns his characters with masks, when he hides the bodies that were once on display, he reaffirms the importance of suggestion. When he covers them with a white square, he injects humor into these trivial images.
A hymn to feeling and the unconcious, he takes man’s side over technology. Eric Emo speaks of intimacy, sensitivity, with delicacy.
Opening Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 7 PM
14, rue Debelleyme
T. 01 42 76 91 57 — F. 01 42 76 91 57
Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 7 PM
Other times by appointment